Background: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is among the most common psychiatric disorders of childhood that persists into adulthood in the majority of cases. The evidence on persistence poses several difficulties for adult psychiatry considering the lack of expertise for diagnostic assessment, limited treatment options and patient facilities across Europe.Methods: The European Network Adult ADHD, founded in 2003, aims to increase awareness of this disorder and improve knowledge and patient care for adults with ADHD across Europe. This Consensus Statement is one of the actions taken by the European Network Adult ADHD in order to support the clinician with research evidence and clinical experience from 18 European countries in which ADHD in adults is recognised and treated.Results: Besides information on the genetics and neurobiology of ADHD, three major questions are addressed in this statement: (1) What is the clinical picture of ADHD in adults? (2) How can ADHD in adults be properly diagnosed? (3) How should ADHD in adults be effectively treated?Conclusions: ADHD often presents as an impairing lifelong condition in adults, yet it is currently underdiagnosed and treated in many European countries, leading to ineffective treatment and higher costs of illness. Expertise in diagnostic assessment and treatment of ADHD in adults must increase in psychiatry. Instruments for screening and diagnosis of ADHD in adults are available and appropriate treatments exist, although more research is needed in this age group. © 2010 Kooij et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.